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Dem Sioux Falls mayor changing political party affiliation

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether is changing his political party affiliation amid speculation he's considering a run for statewide office.

SIOUX FALLS (AP) - Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether is changing his political party affiliation amid speculation he's considering a run for statewide office.

The mayor announced his decision to switch from Democrat to independent at a Monday news conference. He did not address his political future, but Northern State University political scientist Jon Schaff told the Argus Leader that people who don't have political ambitions don't call public press conferences.

"After you saw what happened with the last election, I think it certainly was a wakeup call for all of America," Huether said. "For those folks who haven't woken up yet, I think it's time."

During the press conference, Huether would not say whether he voted for Republican President-elect Donald Trump, but he did compare his own business-centric approach to running City Hall with Trump's methodology.

The second-term mayor of South Dakota's largest city said he's been weighing the change for two years.

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Huether said he's frustrated with the two-party system, and with his former party's unwillingness to change.

He described himself as a fiscal conservative and a social libertarian. He said extremes on the left and right create an anti-establishment anger.

"I have no problems being called a moderate," Huether said.

For the last 10 years, Democrats have been losing ground with South Dakota voters, with independent party affiliation becoming more common. Since 2006, the Republican Party has also experienced a drop among registered voters, though that decrease is less severe.

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